Experimental variation in the spatial deposition of trace metals in feathers revealed using synchrotron x-ray fluorescence

Fardausi Akhter, Graham Fairhurst, Peter Blanchard, Karen Machin, Rob Blyth, Julie Thompson, Jamille McLeod, Renfei Feng & Catherine Soos
Feathers can be used to investigate exposure to pollution in birds because they are a secondary route for the excretion of trace elements. Evidence based on analytical imaging and spectroscopy suggests that the spatial distribution of the essential trace element zinc within feathers is related to melanin pigmentation. However, our understanding of how trace elements are deposited into growing feathers is poor and has been hampered by a lack of analytical tools to examine the...
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